LSU fans welcome baseball team home

Chomp-ions Behind pitching and defense Gators defeat LSU to finally win first title

World-Herald News Service

"Just a gritty group, that's all I can say", said O'Sullivan, the 10th-year coach who had brought the Gators to Omaha six of the last eight years. "(Pitching) has been the bread and butter this year and the hitters showed up here (In Omaha) to get us enough runs".

Both players expected another LSU comeback, as the Tigers had done so many times this season.

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Sophomore Brady Singer - whom LSU coach Paul Mainieri said might be the best SEC pitcher he'd seen - will return along with Kowar, a sophomore. "I'm happy for Kevin".

The Beavers swept a very good Vanderbilt team in the Super Regional even though Luke Heimlich, considered the best pitcher in college baseball, was suddenly unavailable after a report surfaced that Heimlich had pleaded guilty to felony child molestation as a teenager. "Finally got his championship". Jackson Kowar, who was the scheduled Game 3 starter, came in and got the final five outs. It would seem like the pitching advantage goes to Florida in game one but that may mean nothing tonight.

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Schwarz knew what was coming with Robertson at third, per Malloy: "Knowing Kramer, I knew he was going to be aggressive".

Florida had grabbed the lead in the first inning, when Liput reached on an infield error and scored two batters later on an RBI single by Schwarz. "I tried to get another inning out of him, and in hindsight I probably would have started the inning with (reliever Nick) Bush".

Austin Langworthy doubled and scored on a groundout in the second inning, Christian Hicks doubled in a run in the fifth, and he scored in the seventh when he tripled and came home on Deacon Liput's grounder that deflected off first base. Josh Smith worked Singer for a walk to put two on and Beau Jordan kept the Tigers chugging when he rifled a single to left field to score Watson and slice the deficit to 3-2.

The Gators could have succumbed to the Tigers pressure, but stayed calm and let the bats fly in the bottom of the eighth, sealing the game with four runs for an impressive 6-1 win.

Jared Poche gave up two unearned runs over 5 2/3 innings to take the loss. "It's definitely one of the more special teams I've been on in my four years, just the relationships that we've built throughout the season".

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"And it's unfortunate, but we're holding our heads high".

Previous year was supposed to be O'Sullivan's best chance to win it all, and it was crushing to go 0-2 in Omaha with a team that had eight players taken in the first 10 rounds of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft. The defense ranked among the country's top 10.

All that was missing was consistent offense. Still, the Gators had a knack for getting the timely hit, drawing walks and forcing play when they got on base.

For the first six innings of Tuesday night's game, everything appeared to be going according to plan for the Gators.

"I think her mother and father must watch too much baseball", her mother, Emily Wascom, said laughingly.

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